KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can take advantage of the trade agreements that have been signed with other countries to strengthen manufacturing and increase exports, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Liew Chin Tong said.

He said a strong and robust manufacturing sector, particularly the small and medium enterprise (SME), could sustain a good economy and employment for the country.

"Malaysia has the manufacturing sectors contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) hoovering around below 25 per cent and previously, we are at more than 30 per cent," he told reporters at the CITYPlus Business Outlook Forum 2023 here today.

He said Malaysia could also create and groom more local brands and increase the production of local made products for the global market.

"We need to help industry, particularly the SME, to grow and reach globally," he said.

He said SME's expansion must be complemented with better technology and a quality workforce.

"If we produce better local products then we have the market access which will provide us with more benefit and I am cautiously optimistic about the overall economy and SME sector for the year 2023," he said.